OPSBA Joins First Nation, Métis and Inuit Peoples in Celebrating National Aboriginal Day

    TORONTO, June 20 /CNW/ - June 21 was chosen as National Aboriginal Day
because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice - the first day of
summer and longest day of the year, the rebirth of Mother Earth - and because
many Aboriginal communities mark this day as a time to celebrate their
    "Setting aside a day for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples is part
of the wider recognition of our primary and founding place on this continent
and our ongoing contributions as First Peoples," said trustee Grace Fox,
OPSBA's First Nations Director.
    It was in 1982 that the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of
First Nations) called for the creation of June 21 as National Aboriginal
Solidarity Day. This call was renewed in 1995 when The Sacred Assembly, a
national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people chaired by Elijah
Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of
Aboriginal peoples.
    This has now become a day in the Canadian calendar when First Nation,
Métis and Inuit peoples express pride in their rich diverse cultures with
their families, neighbours, friends and visitors.
    This day carries particular significance in a year in which Canada's
Prime Minister apologized to First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples for the
government's residential school policy that removed and isolated children from
the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and attempted
to assimilate them into the dominant culture. Assembly of First Nations
National Chief Phil Fontaine commenting on the apology said: "This day
testifies to nothing less than the achievement of the impossible."
    June 21 is a day for the Ontario School Boards' Association and for all
of Canada to honour the traditions, cultures, languages and contributions of
First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples.

For further information:

For further information: Jeff Sprang, (416) 340-2540

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